维基百科 王建民 (台灣)
Chien Ming Wang Photos
On the Yankees side, when you think of this team in the postseason, you think of Jeter and Posada and Rivera — players who have populated October after October for this team. And yet, they will be giving the ball to a pitcher with one prior postseason start.
But Wang’s work this year merits this high-profile start. He has been dependable and durable. He throws a hard, heavy sinker and when his command is on, he capable of producing ground-ball outs seemingly at will.
"He can get double-play balls any time he wants," fellow starter Mike Mussina said on Monday. "He can give up a lot of hits, but at the end, he’s only given up two runs.
"He doesn’t strike out a lot of people, but he doesn’t have to. He’s got the ability to pitch. He’s got an idea of how to pitch. And he throws a 95-mph sinker."
Wang, who is Taiwanese and does not speak much English, still met the media without an interpreter. This was to his credit.
When he was asked how he felt about getting the honor of starting Game 1 he said he was "very happy and proud. A lot of Taiwan people are watching."
Asked if he was nervous, Wang transcended the language barrier with this gem: "On the field, no. In here, yes."
The opening game can be an isolated event in a series or it can set a tone. Nate Robertson and Chien-Ming Wang have been given a considerable honor getting starts in this game, but they have also been handed a weighty responsibility. The one who better handles the spotlight, the pressure and the obligation can set his team on the road to victory.
Mike Bauman is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.